“Fly high, angels,” reads one of 91 engraved bricks that surrounds a new swinging bench memorial at Tasker Park in Peconic.
The memorial was built by Girl Scout Troop 261 from Cutchogue East and Greenport Elementary for their Bronze Award project and unveiled during a ceremony at the park Sunday.
It honors Morgan West, who died at age 9 in 2018 after a six-and-a-half-year battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a highly aggressive brain tumor, and Amber Stulsky, who was 10 when she died in a car crash at Route 48 and Chapel Lane the night before she would have started fifth grade at Southold Elementary in 2019.
“We had to deal with the grief of losing a friend,” said Katherine Meringer, speaking to a group of family, friends and community leaders at the park.
Fellow scout Riley Whitecavage said Amber’s death “hit home” since she was a member of the troop and remained close to the girls even after moving to a different hamlet.
“This project is in memory of our two friends,” said Madison Tomaszewski. “It is a calming place to enjoy a part of the community. It keeps their memory alive.”
The troop spent time on several weekends this fall to help assemble the swing, dig holes for the posts and lay out the donated bricks.
According to Girl Scout Alison Erwin, they had originally planned the design with 46 bricks but ended up with 91 donations from the community. “This was amazing,” she said, thanking the donors. Local businesses also donated materials and plantings, which will be expanded in the spring.
Both Morgan and Amber’s families attended the dedication and said they were overcome with emotion.
“It’s beautiful,” said Amber’s mom, Rachael Smith. “They just blew me away. It’s amazing that they want to keep [their] spirit alive,” Ms. Smith said.
Morgan’s mom, Nikki, said the troop did an incredible job on the project. “Morgan always loved coming to this park too, so it’s very fitting,” Ms. West said.
Town Supervisor Scott Russell also attended Sunday’s ceremony, and congratulated the troop on a “stunning” project.
“This is the new centerpiece of the park. You did something special,” he said. “You did something in the memory of Morgan and Amber for their families and for this whole community to enjoy.”